Accountant – Top 10 Interview Questions and Answers
An accountant must be able to prepare, and understand how to review a wide range of documentation, including balance sheets, statements of cash flow, tax-related documentation, profit and loss statements, income statements, etc. Accountants will be expected to inform business decisions, analyze the financial health of an organization, review and prepare taxes for clients, and also manage teams of clerical employees. A wide range of skills are necessary to be an effective accountant, and so it is important to demonstrate proficiency in multiple areas during the interview process. Here are the top 10 questions you can expect to encounter during an interview.
1. Which types of audits are you familiar with?
Anyone who has worked within the field of accounting should have a knowledge base of auditing, and should know which types of audits will be required in the job you are currently interviewing for. Remember it is important to keep in mind which audits (operational audits, financial audits, etc.) you will be expected to complete for this job, and to express competency in those specific areas.
2. Which methods do you use to ensure minimum error within your work?
It is important to minimize all potential for error in your work as an accountant, any error could lead to misleading results and significantly affect your work. For this question, you should mention your methods for error reduction, and exemplify any times you have screened and caught mistakes in past employment situations.
3. How have you helped reduce costs with past employers?
You will want to mention any instances with past employers where you were able to help save on expenses. Having done so will show that you are willing to go above and beyond your standard duties, and also exemplify that you have strong critical thinking abilities and an eye for detail.
4. What enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are you familiar with and comfortable using.
As an accountant, there are several software platforms which may you may be expected to know, especially if you are interviewing to work within a larger organization. It is important to mention expertise across any of these platforms. Extensive knowledge in Excel is typically mandatory, though experience in software such as Hyperion, Oracle Enterprise Manager, etc. is important to mention.
5. Which role do you typically play in the month-end close process?
The month-end close process is an important part of most accounting jobs. Be sure to include the specific duties you have been responsible in the past and outline the process as a whole.
6. What are your project implementation tactics?
As an accountant, you may be expected to take the lead on several projects. With this question, you will want to explain projects you have been responsible for in the past and walk an interviewer through the early stages of that project.
7. Do you have experience in both accounting and auditing?
Depending on your specific job as an accountant, you may be expected to spend your time auditing documents which have been created, or recording daily activity and producing documents.
8. What are MIS reports, and have you created them for previous employers?
Management Information System (MIS) reports assist management in making pivotal decisions. You may be required to evaluate the efficiency of another department of your company and as such, would need to create an MIS report. If you have done so in the past, describe those instances.
9. What is your standard for assessing bad debt?
It can be an important duty to reconcile bad debt. This question can open a conversation which allows you to exemplify your personal approach, or the implemented policy of past employers regarding bad debt.
10. What are some challenges you have faced, and how have you overcome them while leading a team through an analysis project?
Challenges are common place in any work environment, and as an accountant you should have some skill and experience in leading your team through issues that arise. When answering this question, you will want to demonstrate your interpersonal management skills and knowledge of common challenges that arise in analysis projects.